5 ways talent pooling can help with the candidate shortage

| 13 April 2023

At both a local and global level, it’s fair to say the job market is going through some choppy waters. Businesses are facing recruitment difficulties and candidate shortages against the backdrop of a rocky economic climate. But don’t just take our word for it; 82% of businesses have reported recruitment difficulties according to recent research from the British Chambers of Commerce.

With 2023 set to be the eye of the storm, talent pooling can offer solutions for teams looking to plug the skills gap in their business.

Most business leaders will have an understanding of talent pooling; in a nutshell it’s a strategy whereby organisations build relationships with potential candidates over time, creating a pool of pre-screened and qualified candidates that can be tapped into as needed. So, instead of simply hiring one person for one role, you create a pool of people who are warm to the business. You also gather a huge amount of insights about the perception of your organisation in the market and the motivations of potential candidates. This is why it’s often beneficial to outsource talent pooling – to get more honest feedback and independent insights to help shape your EVP, employment packages and the roles themselves to appeal to and attract the right talent for your organisation.

It’s a proactive approach that pays off no matter the state of the job market, but works especially well as an insurance policy during times where talent is short. Here’s how…


1. Reducing time-to-hire

One of the challenges that HR teams are facing is the speed at which they can fill open positions. With the market resembling something akin to the Hunger Games – talent pooling can help bring candidates on much faster. Pre-screening and having warm leads will play a big role in reducing hiring times as you can then compile shortlists and be proactive as and when projects and positions come up.


2. Lowering recruitment costs

Recruitment costs can quickly add up, especially when you’re relying on expensive recruitment agencies and advertising for individual roles. Talent pooling can help reduce recruitment costs by providing a pool of pre-screened candidates that can be easily accessed when a position becomes available – especially when a position requires a specialist niche or the company pivots and a new skillset is required. This can save you significant money (and time!) in recruitment costs and enable HR teams to prioritise other tasks rather than be bogged down in screening calls and interviews.


3. Improving candidate quality

A key benefit of talent pooling is that it raises the bar in terms of the quality of candidates you bring in. By pooling you can gain insights into what the market is offering in terms of salary, and skillsets as well as gain a stronger understanding of the career goals of candidates. This subsequently also allows you to broaden your search. Rather than hiring for the role, focus on what success the team and the business as a whole wants to achieve. This lets you look at recruitment through the lens of skills adjacency. You can centre your search not only on specific skills that the role requires but other soft skills that can bring a newer dimension to the company and role. And in turn, you could end up sourcing a skilled candidate that may have been missed through traditional recruitment methods.

Discover further how skills adjacency can also help your business with any candidate challenges you may have.


4. Increasing retention rates

Talent pooling plays a crucial role in boosting retention rates. From consumers to businesses – everyone has been tightening their belts so retaining your top talent is crucial, especially with figures showing that losing an employee costs on average 33% of their annual salary. Which begins to add up if you have multiple exits. Pooling helps you build a rapport with candidates. As you aren’t hiring for the here and now you can have conversations which allow you to understand the candidate beyond what they have on their CV. You can get to see if they will be a culture fit and what their short and long-term motivations are. You gain strong insights into what the market level is for salary and more importantly. So when the time comes to fill a position, you’re able to make an informed decision that hopefully results in a long-term candidate.


5. Understanding the candidate and your organisation

Company culture and experience doesn’t just begin when a candidate starts their induction. You should use the recruitment and pooling process to show your organisation’s true colours. The benefit of pooling is that you can take the time to find out their motivations but chief amongst all that is you can begin to understand how your company is perceived amongst your rivals. Are you losing talent due to company culture? Salary? Working structure? All these questions can help you to develop your organisation’s hiring and cultural framework. By building relationships with potential candidates over time you can also begin to understand what sort of package you put together for them, properly mapping out their development and growth.


To wrap up – talent pooling can be an effective solution when trying to navigate the current employment minefield. You not only get a jump on recruitment through pre-screening but you also gain a host of insights into salary, company perception and candidate goals. And more importantly, it’s an effective method of watching your bottom line when it comes to costs. In truth, all smart companies should constantly be keeping their talent pool topped up. It’s best to start building it now – because you never know when you’ll need it.

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